There are 3 qualities for any being or existence, named as : Sattva (illumination), Rajas (passion), Tamas (ignorance).

Gita discusses them in great detail. According to it, the quality of Rajas is the reason for bondage or attaching a jiva to the physical plane, which resides in between the heaven (due to good deeds caused by Sattva) and the hell (due to sins caused by Tamas). Rajas has to be pacified for the liberation (viz. Moksha).

These leaves us with Sattva and Tamas. It indirectly implies that, the prominence of these 2 'may' not obstruct the liberation. Sattva being illuminating, would bring a consciousness to higher regions of life followed by Moksha.

Tamas on the other hand is related to ignorance and dumbness, which 'might' cause fall of a consciousness.
According to many verses, the sinfulness has no relation with the liberation. For example, verse BG 9.32 says that, sinful beings like Stri (Women), Vaishya (business class), Shudra (service class) also get liberation. Also refer BG 9.30.
[There is a local temple in my hometown. Its Mahant (prime priest) suggested that, opt for Stri Bhakti when possible, it's liked by the lord a lot.]

There are many bAwA-s (e.g. नागा साधु), who eat stale food, smoke and remain lazy in their life. Which are all notebook TAmasik qualities.
Now if Tamas brings to hellish regions, then why should such people be called Yogi-s or spirituals, isn't it?

As opposite argument, it's also said in BG 16.20, that those people who don't resolve their anger, lust, greed -- keep falling into lower & lower hells. But the further question is, how far can one fall? There has to be a limit of falling. One must be liberating after the last fall.

[Famous English saying related to tamas: "Ignorance is Bliss!"]


  • Does the quality of tamas cause the liberation?
  • If yes, then is the liberation via tamas quicker/slower than the sattva?

Clarification: For the liberation, one has to become gunAtita (beyond [3] qualities). But this question is not about it. Like how prominent Rajas obstructs the liberation, I want to know how the prominence of Tamas affects the liberation.

  • How come sinful beings are Stri , Vaishya, Shudra only ? Why not Kshatriya and Brahmins ? Where did you get this knowledge ? In that way even a good person who took birth in any of these mentioned varna, by default he'll become sinful ?
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Jul 23 '18 at 6:45
  • The laziness in those yogi you described is only appearing in their physical work but I don't think they would be lazy in spiritual progress i.e Yoga.
    – Pandya
    Jul 23 '18 at 11:14
  • 1
    Think of a seed. Inside the seed there is potency. But it is dormant. One day if the ambience is right, the seed will sprout. Similarly is the mind. When the desires are dormant and are yet to sprout, it is tamas. The tamasic person is lazy, but he is filled with desires. When the situation arises where he can fulfill his desires he will do so compulsively. The satvik person is like the seed is losing it's potency. It is losing its desire to sprout. This person appears to be lazy on the outside, but inside he has less need to satisfy desires and acts with discrimination.
    – Sai
    Jul 23 '18 at 16:35
  • It's wrong understanding that tamas is something bad or negative. Whole creation is made up of three gunas. If there is no tamas then shristi cannot exist. Even its essential for functioning and sustenance of mind body etc. Some sanyasins have portrayed it as something very negative to get rid of. Jul 23 '18 at 16:55
  • @Sai, good analogy and welcome back! So according to seed example, tamas is actually an encapsulated rajas in waiting. However what if, the seed of tamas never sprouts? Some of the Yogi-s probably rely on that, I guess. They will never let their leisure be compromised, so that the underneath desires don't takeover and obstruct the liberation path. Again it's just a theory. Nevertheless will tamas interfere in liberation like how rajas does?
    – iammilind
    Jul 24 '18 at 3:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .